Michael Jackson was a well-known artist, mostly for his great music, and partly for his well-documented cosmetic surgeries. The professionals who were responsible for bleaching his skin are known as plastic surgeons.
Well, although plastic surgery is commonly associated with cosmetic enhancement, it also encompasses a number of reconstructive surgeries. Read on to find more about the work and qualifications of plastics surgeons.
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What Do Plastic Surgeons Do?
The duties of plastics surgeons include:
- Interviewing clients to learn about their deformities, cosmetic desires and medical histories
- Explaining the risks and benefits of plastic surgery to clients
- Scheduling surgeries and preparing clients for reconstruction
- Performing surgeries to rectify physical deformities, repair damaging tissues or enhance physical appearance
- Giving instructions to nurses, anesthesiologists and other specialists in the surgical team
- Giving post-operative advice to patients
- Engaging in continuing education activities
It takes dedication and commitment to be a plastic surgeon. You must be ready to work long and irregular hours. Sometimes you may even be required to work overnight hours.
While at work, plastic surgeons spend their time in consultation rooms examining clients or treatment rooms administering treatment. When performing surgery, they work in sterile environments and spend most of their time on their feet. So the job can be physically demanding.
What is the average annual salary for plastic surgeons? Find out below:
Median Annual Wage
Source: CNN Money
To become a plastic surgeon, you must complete the following steps:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in any scientific discipline, preferably biology, nursing, chemistry or physics
- Pass the Medical College Admission Test
- Join medical school and pursue a doctor of medicine degree
- Pursue a residency program in plastic surgery – Here you will learn about cosmetic surgical principles, reconstructive techniques and other topics that are relevant to the plastic surgery discipline.
- Obtain a medical license from your states’ board of medicine.
Some of the institutions offering residency programs in plastic surgery include:
Depending on the institution, it could take you between 2 and 6 years to complete the residency program. In total, you will spend at least 10 years in college before qualifying as a plastic surgeon.
To be a competent plastic surgeon, you need:
- Strong decision-making skills to make sound operative judgments
- Strong creative problem-solving skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Strong practical and technical skills
- Fine dexterity skills
- Superb hand-eye coordination
- The ability to adhere to professional ethics
- The desire to help others
- Good business skills—for plastics surgeons in private practice
After earning all the credentials and getting employed, you must engage in continuing education activities to not only broaden your knowledge and improve your competence, but also enhance your progression prospects. These activities include:
- Obtaining a board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Securing membership in the American Society of Plastics Surgeons – The society offers training workshops and provides a platform for publishing articles on plastic surgery
- Pursuing a doctorate in reconstructive surgery.
The employers of plastic surgeons include:
- Specialty hospitals
- Physician’ offices
- Reconstructive surgery clinics
With vast experience and a board certification, you can move into private practice and establish your own reconstructive surgery clinic. With a doctorate, you can be hired by medical schools to nurture future plastic surgeons.
Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the employment of surgeons will grow by 18 percent through 2022, faster than the 11 percent average for all jobs.
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So, if you think you have the patience to spend a decade in college chasing a career, and you have an interest in helping people restore or alter their appearance, then maybe you can become a plastic surgeon.